Thursday, June 14, 2018

Honoring Seniors and the Teachers Who Made a Difference in Their Life

Each year  we host a Senior of the Month Banquet and this blog focuses on that event.  I decided to republish the thoughts I shared last year on the banquet.  I hope you will enjoy it.  In addition, the link below will take you to a video of the ceremony.  I hope you will watch it and here the heartfelt messages the students had for the teachers they were honoring.

Senior of the Month Banquet (video)

How good is your memory?  Do you ever walk into a room and forget why you went in there?  Or you are unable to find that important item that you put somewhere special for “safekeeping” that is really safe because you can’t remember where it is?  Even though we’ve all been there, it’s still frustrating.

But I bet I know something you remember without hesitation.  Can you recall a teacher who made a tremendous impact on your life?  I’m sure one teacher, or even more,  you had in school just came to mind and many memories about why they were special to you came flooding back.  Here’s the more challenging question:  Did you ever tell them how much they meant to you?  Probably not.
I realize students don’t often share with a teacher just how much they have influenced the student’s life.  Even when they do, it is typically not shared publicly.  On May 30, 2018, several of our seniors had a chance to do just that.  They honored a teacher who had made a significant impact on their life at our Senior of the Month Banquet.

Each month, Windsor and Smithfield high schools nominate a Senior of the Month.  The students are recognized at a school board meeting and also receive a $500 college scholarship generously provided by our business and community partners.  The Senior of the Month Banquet provides an opportunity for each of these 16 students to publicly thank a teacher who has made a difference in their life.  The students courageously stand before an audience of family members, scholarship sponsors and school officials and share why they are honoring their chosen educator.  They recall personal stories filled with poignancy, gratitude, and admiration.  Their heartfelt remarks bring about laughter, a few tears, and a tremendous amount of appreciation for both the teacher and the student.  The teacher receives a plaque to commemorate the occasion, but the remarks from their student are the real gift.  It is truly an incredibly special evening for all the guests.

Thank you to the teachers who were honored by the Seniors of the Month.  I know all of our teachers have had, or will have, a significant impact on many children throughout their teaching career.  Whether the praise is public, private, or even unspoken, there is an incredible satisfaction and validation when a teacher knows they have made a difference in a child’s life. Thank you to all IWCS teachers for making a difference in some child’s life each and every day.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Showcasing Our Schools: Westside=Best Side

Back in March, I began highlighting our schools in my Friday blog.  I started at Carrsville and moved up Route 258 to Windsor, then along Route 10 to Smithfield, Hardy and Carrollton.  This blog wraps up the series with a stop at Westside Elementary School. Westside has a rich history in its sixty year lifetime.The school served African American children in the county as Isle of Wight Training School/Institute, then as Westside High School until desegregation in the 1960s.  The school became Smithfield Elementary then Smithfield Middle until the early 2000s.  With the construction of a new middle school, the community recommended the building be renamed Westside Elementary to commemorate it's historical significance to education in Isle of Wight County.
There has always been tremendous pride associated with Westside.  You can see and hear it in the alumni who talk about the important role the school and staff played in their lives.  The students at Westside now share that same sense of pride.  The teachers use the saying "Westside Bestside" when they share information about the successes of their students on social media.  It's a mantra that reflects how they feel about their school, their classes and their work.
The video below highlights some of that Westside Pride.  Hear from students and staff as they explain what makes Westside the Best Side.